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Das Boot
Germany - 1981
Directed by Wolfgang Petersen


Standing as possibly one of the best WWII dramas ever made, the newly released "director's cut" of Das Boot is almost an hour longer than the 1981 release.  We could not imagine which of these scenes had been cut, it having been years since we saw the original version.  The scenes flowed so smoothly from one to another, it's hard to believe that we did not find the original version lacking.   This film tells the story of a crew aboard a German U-boat, one of the most feared forces in the Atlantic.  The U-boats were small, deadly submarines that were used extensively to destroy Allied ships.

Correspondent Werner (Herbert Groenemeyer) is dispatched to join the U-boat on its mission to destroy Allied boats in the North Atlantic.  He is somewhat disenchanted with the state of life on board in these cramped quarters.  For weeks, the U-boat roams the sea, looking for action.  The captain is increasingly irritable as he waits for orders.  Action comes soon enough and we experience the battle; the attack, the counter-attack and the evasive maneuvering of the U-boat, sometimes diving to untested depths.

The atmosphere inside the craft is made to seem as real as possible.  We cannot say that watching a film in any way compares with the real experiences of men at war, but it comes as close as most of us could possibly get.  The film is obviously the result of expert craftspeople.  The lighting, the makeup (real sweat and grime seems to build up as the mission goes on), the food hanging from the ceilings of the sleeping quarters (no place else to store it), that depletes as time goes by.  Every detail seems to be thought of.  It was refreshing to see a WWII film that does not depict German soldiers to be either big dumb guys or evil incarnate.  There was an absence of Nazi dogma, these sailors appeared to be without a political agenda, which led us to see that they were just men, sometimes thrilled with battle and sometimes terrified for their lives. We thought that the clearest message to be received from Das Boot was that of the futility of war.  Even when the German sailors knew that they were losing the war, they were still expected to risk their lives. 

Das Boot was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Film (1982), and received six Oscar nominations in 1983 for: Best Cinematography(Jost Vacano), Best Director (Wolfgang Petersen), Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing (Mike Le Mare), Best Sound and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Wolfgang Petersen).

Runtime:  205 minutes (Director's Cut Version)


Guest Comments

From:  "Kirbz"

"I watch it as much as I can","This movie is just stellar from soup to nuts. I have the double directors cut and sprechen bischen deutsch so I love the deutsch language version. Having German U BOOT sailers speaking English... Well its heresy.
This movie absorbs you: No matter how often you see it it enthralls you. All the cast is great. THere ia bully (but really a nice guy at heart) a rascal (number two - the elf) a bible reader... The people depicted are all real and come to life on screen. You can relate to them all.
This IS (what everyone always says) hands down the best submarine movie ever made and could possibly be the best war movie ever made. Its my favorite.
Jurgen Prochnow and Herbert Groenemeyer are both great as is the whole cast. A classic-epochal delight is Das Boot. Dont just see it: I say buy it."


From:  "LewisM.G."

"I still carry my own recorded video from the original series (in the early 90s, not sure) on BBC2 - and am now watching the series, again being shown on BBB2.
I agree with all other comments about this film - and for sheer earthy reality it has no match. I could feel the tensions in that submarine, smell the smells, sweat with the crew and fear with them.
Jurgen Prochnow was magnificent as the captain - and looking for information on him was how I found this site!
Knowing that there is now a director's version, I will surely buy it - though I too have doubts about the dubbed version.
One further congratulatory note.....that theme music! It makes my hair stand on end whenever I hear it - as when that little boat was slicing through the waves on the surface for instance...wow!
Everything about this film evokes in me such high emotions - it deserves every credit for it's director and cast."


From:  "classy"

"why do foreign movies have to be dubbed into english? Are we americans so dum that we cannot read? I can't believe that the uncut version masterpiece ""das boot"" has been totally ruined by not leaving it in its original language. where can i get the undubbed version?"

Editor's note:  I think most of us would agree that subtitled is always preferable to dubbing.  You can buy the sub-titled version through our site. Just click on the "Buy it Now" button below.


From:  "Randell Briggs"

"Any version of Das Boot is excellent. I Rode U.S. diesel subs and ""nuke ""boomers"" in the 60's,and Das Boot really tells the human side of ""Bubble-heads (Submariners), as shear survival out weighs all political stress."


From:  "Anne Harrison"

"I thought this film to be both well done and unique. I think the 'well done' part is fairly obvious but it is unique because it offers a different perspective of WW2 for the Allies. The part of the film where they have to get around Gibraltor - and everything's so tense - it was then that I consciously realized that I was rooting for the Nazi's - but they weren't simply Nazi's of course - they were people and I wanted them to survive. It's definately one of the best war movies that successfully puts a human face on soldiers. And even though I don't agree at all with war - I think it's incredibly important to understand the total human aspect of war. p.s. Jurgen Procknow was incredibly good and really deserves more attention."


From:  "Peter Demchak"

"This is the best,nothing else compares."


From:  "Fred"

"Das Boot is my favorite war movie. To see it is to live it! The humanity of the captain and crew make's you forget about the politics of the war. You begin to feel like one of the crew. It is one war movie where Germans are clearly the "good guys". Every time I see it I get so engrossed by it, that it makes me root for the Germans, and curse the British. Its an amazing experience. The message to me is common humanity is more important than politics."


From:  "MIke Mills"

"I just saw U-571 and it just made me want to go see Das Boot again. The new film was poorly done and I will get out Das Boot and watch it again to see how it should be done."


From:  "DSettahr"

"Along with ""Saving Private Ryan,"" ""Das Boot"" is easily one of the best war films ever made. The realistic look at the lives of young german sailors partaking in a voyage into madness makes this an incredible movie. Emotions
are so perfectly portrayed that you dont need the subtitles to understand what is going on. Wolfgang Peterson said it best- ""It Will Blow You Away."


From:  "BF109ME262"

"The most shocking, but educational, real life action film about the WW2 German soldiers (sailors) I ever saw! Unstigmatized such as the usual overblown Hollyweird -every german is a ""goose stepping moron"", and an ""idiot"" mentality-real life 'Sgt. Schulzes"", and easily duped ""Col. Klinks""-this movie is one to really get you involved in it emotionally....one of my favorites period...very little to criticize...in fact I can't think of anything...think of it as the kreigsmarine version of ""Saving Private Ryan"" in it's real life portrayal....shocking but thoroughly entertaining...a film most can actually identify with! Just regular servicemen doing an utterly dangerous job in the one aspect of WW2 where every trip was near suicide guaranteed....! The greatest irony was of course the ending but it is factual. That I like the best about it...."

 

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